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Antonio Inoki


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#1 Grimmas

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 06:03 AM

Discuss here.



#2 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 22 September 2014 - 01:37 PM

I love 70s Inoki. I watched him challenge Dory and Brisco for the NWA title, and he was step for step with both guys. Ditto with Billy Robinson. Inoki/Andre was always a good match, too.

 

It probably won't mean anything to anyone else, but I am also a big fan of Inoki's Pro Wrestling vs The World faux-MMA tours. From Pakistani wrestlers to top judo players to Muhammed Ali, Inoki never looked out of place challenging the toughest guys in the world, and generally got genuinely entertaining matches out of non-workers.



#3 El-P

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:56 AM

He had a bunch of really good matches with some great workers, but man, he was also quite a bad worker on average. Shit selling, awkward execution, no sense of pacing (those overlong matches going nowhere).



#4 Matt D

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 11:22 AM

I'm going to stick a random, ignorant Inoki question here. I know he hid his Brazilian heritage early in his career, including not using Antonio. Later on, though, how much of a part of his public perception was it?



#5 GOTNW

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 11:46 AM

What heritage? Antonio isn't his real name. There's a decent amount of japanese immigrants in Brazil but I don't see why his association with them would have any effect.



#6 Matt D

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 11:49 AM

I'm going off an old (98) observer mainly. Dave doesn't follow up on it later in the bio. 

 

Inoki, who was half Japanese and half Brazilian, lived in Brazil as a teenager and was a high school track star of such proportions that Rikidozan heard about the large agile Japanese athlete and recruited him into pro wrestling. He started his career as Kanji Inoki (the Antonio name was hidden to keep from the public his Brazilian ancestry making him not pure-blood Japanese and thus fearing it would keep from being fully accepted as a national superstar), and worked both in Japan and in the United States during the early part of his career.



#7 DGinnetty

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 12:17 PM

If we are to believe Tim Hornbaker or wikipedia, his parents names were Sajiro and Fumiko.

 

Not sure how Dave gets 1/2 Brazilian from that.

 

Inoki didn't even live in Brazil until his remaining family moved there when he was 14.

 

I do wonder why they went all the way to Brazil, so there might be some connection.

 

Dan



#8 WingedEagle

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 12:26 PM

I think the story is that Inoki was born in Japan but had Brazilian lineage and for at least some time grew up there.  Not familiar with Japanese culture but it sounded like they didn't want to highlight the extent of his Brazilian background as he was coming up, but am not sure if there was any real attempt to hide it once he was a star.



#9 jdw

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 01:11 PM

Looks like he made the Kanji --> Antonio transition in JWA in November 1962.

 

The family (or at least Kanji) appears to have only been in Brasil only for three years in his mid-teens as Dan points out. He was back in Japan with JWA by the time he was 17.

 

I'd give Dave just a slight about of slack on the bio: Inoki's background was mythologized so much from the 60s through the 90s... we're talking about 30+ years of bullshit by the time people in Japan were giving Dave info for that bio. While Dave might be able to sift through Hogan bullshit, we've seen that some Flair and Funk bullshit passed him by when their books came out. Imagine trying to sift through Inoki Mythmaking Bullshit in the years before the net as it is today, and Dave having to rely on reporters and mag editors over there who've been hearing the myths their entire adult lives. It's a bitch.



#10 Matt D

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 01:50 PM

I went with it because it was 98 Dave and not 88 Dave. 



#11 jdw

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 03:39 PM

1998 would have been getting info the same way he got it in 1988. It's not like the Net was a robust way to get info in 1998 compared to 2015.



#12 Matt D

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 03:40 PM

Juno accounts existed in 1998. Would 2008 be that much different?

#13 jdw

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 04:15 PM

In 1998, I would have shot notes to the 3-4 people online that I dealt with, and faxed the reporter I dealt with to get the info. The 3-4 people that I dealt with online largely would have less info than the reporter, though one might be more skeptical about Inoki myth bullshit... though he frankly was a big Inoki fan, so who knows.

 

Dave wasn't online at all. Instead he would have talked to the same reporter than I would have faxed, and probably 2 other reporters, and probably someone in the NJPW office that he knew (if I recall correctly).

 

There was no Wiki in 1998 he could pull up where it clearly says Inoki was born in Japan, lived there until 14, his family moved to Brasil at that point, and he was back to Japan for JWA by the time he was 17. Then taking that info and asking his 3 reporter contacts and one NJPW office contact to see what really is the truth: Inoki myth that has been passed around, or what he's seen online.

 

Different world, and nothing that would make someone who was entirely offline like Dave (other than Radio GaGa) think that he hadn't gotten good info from his contacts directly in Japan, whenever he got that info.

 

Now it's quite possible that someone told Dave that "Inoki is Brasilian" story in the 80s, he never got it corrected, and kept running with it. Someone can look up the Dave's Who's Who piece on Inoki (which would have been written in 1986) to see if he talks about it in there. I can't remember... haven't looked at that thing in ages.

 

Edit: in 2008 I would cut Dave less slack. Info wasn't as easy or detailed as it is now, but there were starting points to get stuff. If Dave was ignoring it, that's his fault and not something he can as easily pawn off on "I was told it by folks in Japan". At a certain point you can more readily get conflicting info and more easily ask follow ups from sources on whether it's true or wrong. It's kind of the stuff that folks have been doing here for a decade or more.



#14 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 05:00 PM

There are different theories about why he took the name Antonio but one of them is that Rikidozan wanted to push him as a Brazilian nisei whom he found working on the fields in Sao Paulo. Nisei is the name given to second generation children born to Japanese immigrants. Inoki made it public after Rikidozan's death that he was born in Yokohama, but the nisei thing must have stuck because you can find people writing about it prior to the Ali fight. The first time he used the name was on November 9th, 1962 in Okinawa according to a Baseball magazine reference on his Wikipedia page. 

 

In the early part of the 20th century, Brazil had a labour shortage on their coffee plantations and signed a treaty with the Japanese government permitting Japanese migration to Brazil. Roughly 240,000 people immigrated between 1906 and 1993 with the second biggest period being the post-war years of 1956-60.



#15 Jingus

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 05:08 PM

Dunno how much it would apply to a guy who was born in Japan and only lived overseas for a few years, but I've repeatedly heard that Brazilian-born people of Japanese descent often have a very difficult time being accepted into mainstream Japanese society. Japan is still a fairly insular and xenophobic culture, by first-world nation standards. Here's some stories from the BBC and the NY Times that talk about the issue a bit.

OJ, can you tell us more on this subject? Or anyone else who's lived in Japan, if we've got any other such folks on here.

#16 jdw

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 06:00 PM

There are different theories about why he took the name Antonio but one of them is that Rikidozan wanted to push him as a Brazilian nisei whom he found working on the fields in Sao Paulo. Nisei is the name given to second generation children born to Japanese immigrants. Inoki made it public after Rikidozan's death that he was born in Yokohama, but the nisei thing must have stuck because you can find people writing about it prior to the Ali fight. The first time he used the name was on November 9th, 1962 in Okinawa according to a Baseball magazine reference on his Wikipedia page.

 

Yep, Nov 1962.

 

Kanji Inoki: Sep-30-1960 - Nov-08-1962

Antonio Inoki: Nov-09-1962 (6th and final show of Okinawa tour)

 

http://www.puroresu..../jwa196209.html

 

Rikidozan died the following December, 1963.

 

Riki took his time in rolling out the Antonio name. One could speculate that it was to give Inoki a push when Baba (who was higher from the start) was sent overseas to "grow up". But that happened back at the end of June 1961. The name change was a while after that. Perhaps a push up that cards? Looks a little bit, but not massive and he was still getting his clock cleaned by high ranked guys all the time and not that high on the cards consistently. Nothing like how Baba was pushed the following year when he got back from overseas.

 

Again, there's a lot of Inoki Myth Making. So much bullshit that he and the people around him have claimed/said/stated over the years that who knows where the truth is anymore.



#17 GOTNW

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:01 PM

I sometimes get the impression I'm considering 300 wrestlers for 10 spots on my list and Inoki isn't a lock but he could sneak in. He has the great matches (vs. Billy Robinson, Fujinami, Choshu, Fujiwara, Vader) and also a weird charisma where I will watch a match of his much rather than others that would probably end up being better. I also find his ideology far more exciting than Baba's patient and conservative approach.

#18 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 08:02 AM

He has a great matches with Jack Brisco (I gave ****) and Dory (I gave ***) too that some people really love.
 
I find Inoki the most boring guy ever. So so so boring.

#19 Benbeeach

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 09:50 AM

Like GOTNW I really like Inoki's approach, especially in big matches. He's got the 8/8/88 IWGP title match with Fujinami that didn't make it onto the DVDVR 80s set (I believe the full match wasn't availale in time for the deadline), that'd I easily go near the full 5 with. It's one of the best draws ever, some of the best selling, almost the epitome of the old strong style condensed into one match. It's FAR from boring.

But in yoda speak "doesn't make a man, but one match"



#20 Parties

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 10:13 AM

I am unabashedly an Inoki mark and will have him somewhere below #70 on my list. I actually think he was dynamic by early/mid 70s standards and that he's got many good-to-great 80s showings. The common crit on him from people who created the DVDVR New Japan set was that there are tons of dull Inoki countouts out there on tape. I tend to value people by their best matches rather than their worst. Something like Inoki-Brody can be outright awful, but the other pairings people have listed here - as well as his involvement in the multi-man gauntlets and promotional wars - make for outstanding highlights.






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